Leap of Faith's Broadway Launch Will Be April 3; Jessica Phillips, Raul Esparza, Kendra Kassebaum Star

By Kenneth Jones
January 12, 2012

The producers of the new musical Leap of Faith announced Jan. 12 that the musical comedy — starring Raúl Esparza as a flim-flam preacher and Jessica Phillips as a small-town sheriff — would begin Broadway performances April 3 at the St. James Theatre.



A late-April opening date will be announced. The 6:45 PM announcement on Thursday was made concurrently with an announcement by the producers of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever that that revival would close Jan. 29.

Tony-nominated director Christopher Ashley (Memphis) will direct Leap of Faith, based on the film comedy that starred Steve Martin.

Four-time Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza plays con man Jonas Nightingale. The cast will also feature Jessica Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) as Marla and Kendra Kassebaum (Wicked) as Sam. Additional casting will be announced.

As previously reported, Tony Award winner Warren Leight (Side Man) revised an earlier libretto by screenwriter Janus Cercone. Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys and Memphis) is the choreographer.

The score is by Academy and Grammy Award winner Alan Menken (music) and Glenn Slater (lyrics), who wrote the score to Broadway's Sister Act.

Here's how producers characterize Leap of Faith: "When his traveling ministry breaks down in a small Kansas town, part-time reverend and full-time con artist Jonas Nightingale (Raul Esparza) quickly pitches a tent and invites the locals to a revival. The town sheriff, Marla Humes (Jessica Phillips) is determined to stop him from separating the townspeople from their money."

Leap of Faith will be produced on Broadway by Michael Manheim , James D. Stern, Douglas L. Meyer, Tom Viertel, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel, Steven Baruch, Jujamcyn Theaters, Annette Niemtzow/S. Silva Daryl Roth/Robert G. Bartner, Debi Coleman, Dancap Productions Inc. and Center Theatre Group in association with Steve Kaplan, Vera Guerin Independent Presenters, Network Relativity Media, LLC Richard J. Stern and Pamela Cooper, Diana Buckhantz.

Tickets will available through www.Telecharge.com, (212) 239-6200 on Jan. 23. Ticket prices range from $47-$137.